Sunday, December 8, 2013

Washington v. Seattle School District No. 1 case brief

Washington v. Seattle School District No. 1 case brief summary
458 U.S. 457 (1982)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant state sought review of an order from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed the judgment holding Initiative 350, Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.26.010 (1981), unconstitutional and permanently enjoining the implementation of the initiative's restrictions.

CASE FACTS
Appellee school districts filed a suit against appellant state challenging the constitutionality of Initiative 350, Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.26.010 (1981), under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court held that the initiative was unconstitutional and permanently enjoined implementation of the initiative's restrictions.

DISCUSSION
  • On appeal, the state maintained that busing for integration was not a peculiarly racial issue. 
  • The Court held that Initiative 350 created a constitutionally suspect racial classification and radically restructured the political process of state by allowing a statewide majority to usurp traditional local authority over local school board educational policies. 
  • The Court held that the initiative was unconstitutional because it did not allocate governmental power on the basis of any general principle but instead used the racial nature of an issue to define the governmental decisionmaking structure. 
  • The Court concluded that the reallocation of decisionmaking authority imposed substantial and unique burdens on racial minorities.

CONCLUSION
The Court affirmed the judgment holding that an educational initiative was unconstitutional and permanently enjoining the implementation of the initiative restrictions against appellee school district.


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